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Educational requirements

An ideal education for a medical physicist consists of (a) appropriate academic qualifications at the postgraduate level, and (b) clinical training and (c) professional accreditation or registration with a competent body.

While different countries have varying structures for the education and certification of medical physicists, the need for quality, structured, educational standards is ubiquitous. The role of clinical medical physicists in supporting quality health care is becoming more recognized, and so is the need for development and refinement of robust educational programmes for the training of competent medical physicists. Both the AAPM and EFOMP have taken proactive roles in assessing medical physics educational system which are in place, and defining what goals should be sought for improving the current system.

The IAEA worked on an inter-regional initiative to strengthen the field of medical physics through addressing a number of issues focusing on achieving recognition. The project was a joint effort, involving input from a cross section of experts and organizations from all regions. A report has been prepared to provide specific guidelines on the role and responsibilities of clinically qualified medical physicists and the basic requirements for their education and clinical training. The IAEA report has been published as Human Health Series No. 25. The IAEA publication has been endorsed by the International Organization for Medical Physics and the American Association of Physicists in Medicine.

The IAEA has published a harmonized academic syllabus (postgraduate level) and will support its adaptation to specific national or regional needs. (IAEA Technical Course Series No. 56).

In this context, a regional harmonized medical physics academic syllabus has been developed by experts in the African region and endorsed by FAMPO. Similarly, a regional clinical training programme for radiotherapy medical physicists has also been developed using the IAEA Training Course Series No. 37 as well as a companion logbook to be used by residents and trainers as a portfolio of clinical training. Corresponding regional clinical training programmes and portfolios for Diagnostic Radiology and Nuclear Medicine medical physics have also been developed, using the IAEA Training Course Series No. 47 and IAEA Training Course Series No. 50. This endeavour was supported through regional AFRA technical co-operation projects in support of medical physics.

The regional harmonized medical physics academic syllabus, clinical training programmes and portfolios for the different disciplines have been combined into a single document endorsed by AFRA which can be downloaded here.

Clinical training, according to IAEA guidelines is competency-based. Consequently, clinical training programmes can run in one hospital or collaboratively between hospitals, to offer to the residents exposure to all the different modules and competencies. To support Member States in establishing or coordinating clinical training programmes, the IAEA has made available forms to:

  • help Programme coordinators structure and maintain records of the clinical training programme
  • ease the review of the clinical training programme overall structure.

The forms are available on this page for the TCS clinical training guidelines, and for the programmes based on the AFRA guidelines.